Commissions, Submissions and Exposure Etc.

by Roy Mackey

     I should point out here that the opinions expressed by me here may change without notice. My views and ideas about life are constantly changing as I learn more. There are always two sides to every coin. Sometimes heads makes sense... sometimes tails. Thus it is a good idea to not take too much of what is written here seriously. After all it is only a fleeting opinion.

Commissions, Submissions, Exposure

Beg-a-thons and Other Donations

Supporting Charities... My Solution

Commissions, Submissions, and Exposure

     Normally I almost never do commissions though if the project sounds interesting I may be open to it. My problem is I have too many ideas that I want to get done and never seem to have enough time or focus. Not to mention a fear of incompetence and doubt in my abilities to pull off your project. I have heard some commissions though can be fun and worth while but have never actually seen one like that. The truth is though I am a lousy fabricator who never could get directions straight. A lot of people find this hard to grasp after seeing some of the work that I do but it is true. Doing my art is a totally different game. So if you want to commission something then feel free to ask. The worst that could happen is I could forget to get back to you. 

     The odd time I have been beaten into "Submissions" but found getting the unusual work I do approved by the "committee" to be pretty well fruitless. Thus I have decided not to be beaten into any more "Submissions" from now on. Besides I also do not have the talent to or motivation to work from any point other than pure inspiration. Just the same I wish you the best in your search for artists capable and  willing to do that. If your submission involved a piece I had already made out of inspiration then I would definitely be game.

     In the past I have almost died from "Exposure" thus no longer am that concerned with seeking out typical "Exposure" venues. If you have an "Exposure" opportunity you would like to share feel free to contact me but the odds of me being up to the challenge are very slim unless of course you are from a medium to very large media company of some sort. I don't do small shop window displays for tourist amusement.  

     Also in the past I have often been taken for "Granted" but so far have never received a "Grant". I think once again this is partly do to the unusual work that I do. Which seems to make it hard getting it past the deciding "Committee" This is fine though since I feel grants are a bit of a trap to enslave artists and thus keep them into a desperate cycle of poverty. I have been able to do that quite well on my own already. 


Beg-a-thons and other donations

     I should also point out that I presently am not a fan of pre-gallery or not yet fully established artists like myself donating to Beg-a-thons or as they are more commonly known "Charity Auctions" Taking spare change off a street person to give to the rich so they can research building homeless shelters does not make a lot of sense to me. At least on the part of the street people anyway. The same applies to starving artists. Getting them to donate art they can barely afford to make in order to support charities is  no different.

     Now I do realize that beg-a-thons are fairly popular but that is partly due to the fact that so many artists out there are desperately "Begging" for "exposure to the rich"  They think that one time shot at exposure will put them on easy street. In reality this rarely happens not to mention begging is a poor way to live. And of course we all know too much "exposure" can kill you.

     A lot of artists don't realize that the days of a newspaper article or a beg-a-thon launching their art career in one fell swoop are gone, assuming that is, they were ever here. Valuable one time exposure today probably happens the moment Oprah buys one of your artworks. Anything less is more than likely just hot air. Big advertising budgets belong to big companies not starving artists.

     Not to mention setting up situations where those with more financial security are forced to "steal"  artwork off the poor in order to support a favorite charity is also a bit strange. Those capable enough to put themselves into a position where they can afford to buy art likely don't have to "steal"  it, at a fraction of the cost, in order to acquire it. On top of getting a tax credit to boot.

     Of course another point is the fact that there is almost zero tax advantage for an artist donating a piece of artwork unlike most think. In fact I avoided declaring one piece of art I donated as it would have actually cost me way more than the deduction I would have got. For an artist It only sounds good on the surface until you clarify it with qualified accountant versed in artist issues.

     Up and coming artists cannot afford to nor should they be supporting charities when they cannot afford their own production costs. I like the example our friend Warren Buffet set by doing what he did best... investing. Instead of donating money he invested it and then when he finally did make a donation it was beyond all belief and I believe the all time biggest in US history. He kept re-investing all his "would be"  donations. Knowing very well that down the road he could turn all those little "would be" donations into one huge donation that could be big enough to actually make a huge difference.

     The same applies to artists. They need to be producing new work and lots of it. Their work is what they are good at. An artist that produces a handful of works and then fades away to sell color tv's is never worth investing in. When an artist tries to gain exposure through giving their art away to charity they are really benefiting no one, other than maybe the person who scored the art cheap. but often not even them because unless the artist can afford to keep producing new work he is not going to go anywhere anyway.  If they sold their work and bought more materials they could be producing more work. When they eventually do get their name out there via more appropriate channels then they can consider donating. After all at that point even part proceeds from a sale could be huge in comparison.

     You see production is the goose that lays the golden egg for the artist. If you don't feed the goose then it will die and thus no more production. This becomes lose lose for everyone. Especially the person who bought the art cheap as an investment. Not much of an investment if the artist turns to selling Amway before he ever gets his name out there. If you are versed at collecting art or antiques you are likely already aware that rarity does not establish value. Demand does. if an artist has not produced enough work or "name"  for himself the work will be worth nothing. Think Picasso.... fairly prolific and for a long time. Would you trade your rare, one only, high quality Joe Schmoe painting for a way more common Picasso? My guess is yes.... at least dollar wise.

    If you doubt any of this reasoning then you may want to track down and listen to Warrens reasoning on why he refrained from donating in his earlier years. After all he is a lot smarter than I am. I believe his donation was in the range of 30 billion give or take. From what I understand, low income critics with their own limited vision and understanding had a heyday with his apparently cheapo attitude. Thankfully though he did not respond to their lack of long term reasoning. 

     One point I should make here and that is the above only applies to those like artists, investors, business people etc. Different rules apply to those on fixed incomes from a job, pension or whatever. On fixed incomes small donations with regularity do have huge value to any charity. But even then you have to know your limits. If you over-donated to a charity and then lost your job because you could not afford to fix your car what long range good would you be gaining for the charity? None... or at least not near as much as you could have had you donated smaller amounts and were able afford keeping your car running and thus your job. Over donating in this case would be considered a fool hardy move by almost everyone... yet charitable societies and some art buyers expect / hope already starving artists will do this "fool hardy" behavior all the time. Now I am not the smartest cat around but I am pretty sure this does not make a lot of senseThus....  


 My One Commission

     Here is my most recent and I think only commission I have ever done. This one was for Mr. Jack Leshgold. Mr. Leshgold obviously has vision and taste for original art. This piece was slated for one of his buildings. Three of the hammers are similar to previous ones I have done. Two of these are originals.  I hope to get the installed photo sometime soon.



Here is a pic of one piece that I sold to Mr. Jack Leshgold for one of his many buildings.


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